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Apple CEO Cook's doing a good job, but Jobs 'would have lost his mind over Siri'

Karen Haslam | May 28, 2012
An ex-employee revealed that people at Apple are “embarrassed by Siri”.

Steve Jobs would have "lost his mind over Siri," according to an ex Apple employee.

The ex-employee told Fortune that people at Apple are "embarrassed by Siri". Siri is Apple's voice-recognition 'PA' feature on iPhones that has come under fire recently in a series of lawsuits that claim Siri doesn't work as advertised. Siri was tagged as beta when Apple launched the iPhone 4S, and yet the company still picked it as the lead feature in its advertisements for the new phone.

Fortune has published a report that looks into the ways in which Tim Cook is changing Apple. Siri is noted as an example of a product that doesn't reflect the normal quality of Apple products (although, we'd note that there were certainly poor products released under Steve Jobs - MobileMe, for example). The report states: "The ultimate 'tell' of tectonic changes at Apple will be the quality of its products. Those looking for deficiencies have found them in Siri, a less-than-perfect product that Apple released with the rare beta label in late 2011, a signal that the service shouldn't be viewed as fully baked."

However, much of the report is very positive about Cook's impact on Apple. It notes that both Apple employees and Wall Street analysts like and respect Cook, concluding that "as Apple enters a complex new phase of its corporate history, perhaps it doesn't need a god as CEO but a mere mortal who understands how to get the job done."

The report is full of examples of how Cook has changed the lives of his employees, who seem to have got back some of the work life balance that they didn't have under Jobs. The tale of a meeting between a former Apple employee and a current Apple engineer is noted as one example. The former Apple worker assumed his friend would need to return to work following the meeting and was surprised that they had time for coffee. His conclusion: "I think people are breathing now." However, Fortune notes, "it's not necessarily a compliment."

Another example of the more positive working environment is the case of a recent "Top 100" company meeting - a tradition that gathers 100 of Apple's top executives together for presentations - which was described as "upbeat and even fun," in contrast to what it would have been under Steve Jobs. "Cook was said to be in a jovial, joke-cracking mood - a stark contrast to the grim and fearful tone Jobs engendered at the meetings," notes the report. "Participants left the Top 100 energized about Apple's near-term outlook."

Fortune also reveals that Cook "often sits down randomly with employees in the cafeteria at lunchtime," according to the Walter Isaacson biography, Jobs typically dined with Jonathan Ive.


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